CAO BANG UNESCO GLOBAL GEOPARK (Viet Nam)

“Frontier province and one of the cradles of pre-historic people”

©Pham Ngoc Khoa


Celebrating Earth Heritage

Located in the northern and eastern districts of Cao Bang Province in Northeast Viet Nam, Cao Bang UNESCO Global Geopark covers a total area of 3,000 km2. Mountainous landforms cover approximately 90% of the land area, with elevations ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 m in the west-northwest to 200 m in the east-southeast. With a highland tropical monsoon climate and two distinct wet and dry seasons, the Geopark exhibits a rich biodiversity, with widespread forests, endemic faunas and floras, herbs, specialty crops etc. The region has a complex drainage network that includes 5 major river systems and 47 lakes.

Cao Bang UNESCO Global Geopark is divided into two distinctive parts by the Cao Bang-Tien Yen deep-seated active fault. The eastern part of the Geopark is mostly composed of limestone. This demonstrates a complete tropical karst evolution cycle with various classic landforms e.g. peak-cluster depressions, cones and towers, old and active caves with magnificent speleothems, closed and interconnected valleys, underground and surface rivers including a ‘turlough’ lake system, and one of the world’s largest waterfalls located on an international border. The western part features sedimentary rocks, pillow basalts, ultra-mafic and granitic intrusions rich in minerals and hydrothermal alterations. The area also reveals sedimentary rocks dating back more than 500 million years, with stratotype cross-sections, and fossils indicating different paleo-environments and biosphere extinction events. The diversity in rocks (stratigraphy, paleontology, paleoenvironment, petrology, mineralogy etc.) and landforms (tectonics, geomorphology, karst, weathering, soil erosion etc.) are evidence of the geodiversity of the area, each with its own characteristic of different evolutionary stages of the Earth’s crust.

©Pham Ngoc Khoa


Sustaining local Communities

Approximately 250,000 people live in Cao Bang UNESCO Global Geopark, 92% of which belong to one of nine ethnic groups. The area is famous for its diversified ethnic cultural identity with outstanding traditions among ethnic groups, involving festivals, traditional crafts and folk arts. Regarded as a ‘Holy land’, it has been home to prehistoric people more than 20,000 years ago and used to be the capital of some feudal dynasties. In present history, it has become the cradle of Viet Nam’s revolution.

Cao Bang UNESCO Global Geopark offers numerous outstanding historical and archaeological sites, and a rich cultural heritage of national and international significance, lending the Cao Bang area prominence in Viet Nam and providing a strong basis for the tourism industry as it attracts large numbers of domestic and international visitors. In addition, numerous international and national geosites, such as fossil sites, geological boundaries, mineral deposits and intrusive, volcanic and sedimentary rocks arewell preserved. The geological heritage and biodiversity resulting from unique natural and geographical conditions has shaped the unique culture of Cao Bang, revealed in the diverse cuisine, traditional costumes, rituals and way of living.

Cao Bang UNESCO Global Geopark and communities have long set a strategy for sustainable socio-economic development, nature conservation and environmental protection, a holistic approach to heritage values, while promoting geo-tourism and related services. To ensure active and comprehensive local participation, the development plans of Cao Bang UNESCO Global Geopark focus particularly on stakeholder promotion, education and awareness raising. Due to its complex geology and diversified mineral resources, the area has long received considerable research interest.



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